Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. David Bradshaw


While most scholars know, or think they know, what Plato says about the soul, there is less certainty regarding what he says about the self. Some scholars even assert that the ancient Greeks did not possess the concepts of self or person. This dissertation sets out to examine those passages throughout Plato's dialogues that most clearly require some notion of the self or the person, and by doing so to clarify the logical lineaments of these concepts as they existed in fourth century Athens. Because Plato wrote dialogues, I restrict myself to analyzing the concepts of self and person as they appear in the mouths of various Platonic characters and refrain from speculating whether Plato himself endorses what his characters say. In spite of this restriction, I find a number of striking ideas that set the stage for further philosophical development. After an introductory chapter, in Chapters 2 and 3 I argue that the identification of the person with the soul and the identification of the human being with the composite of soul and body make possible a conceptual split between person and human being. In Chapter 4, I argue that the tripartite account of the soul suggests an ideal identification of the person with the rational aspect of the soul rather than the lower aspects of one's psychology. Finally, in Chapter 5 I argue that the analogical link between rationality in us and the rational order of the cosmos leads to the conclusion that the true self is, in some sense, divine.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)